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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 11, issue 11 | Copyright
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 11, 5941-5964, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 30 Oct 2018

Research article | 30 Oct 2018

Nitrogen dioxide and formaldehyde measurements from the GEOstationary Coastal and Air Pollution Events (GEO-CAPE) Airborne Simulator over Houston, Texas

Caroline R. Nowlan1, Xiong Liu1, Scott J. Janz2, Matthew G. Kowalewski2,3, Kelly Chance1, Melanie B. Follette-Cook2,4, Alan Fried5, Gonzalo González Abad1, Jay R. Herman6, Laura M. Judd7, Hyeong-Ahn Kwon8, Christopher P. Loughner9,10, Kenneth E. Pickering2,11, Dirk Richter5, Elena Spinei12, James Walega5, Petter Weibring5, and Andrew J. Weinheimer13 Caroline R. Nowlan et al.
  • 1Atomic and Molecular Physics Division, Harvard–Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
  • 2Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
  • 3Goddard Earth Sciences Technology and Research, Universities Space Research Association, Columbia, MD 21046, USA
  • 4Goddard Earth Sciences Technology and Research, Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD 21251, USA
  • 5Institute for Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80303, USA
  • 6Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA
  • 7NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA 23666, USA
  • 8School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
  • 9NOAA Air Resources Laboratory, College Park, MD 20740, USA
  • 10Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center/Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites – Maryland, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20740, USA
  • 11Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science, University of Maryland, College Park, College Park, MD 20742, USA
  • 12Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA
  • 13Atmospheric Chemistry Observations & Modeling Laboratory, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO 80307, USA

Abstract. The GEOstationary Coastal and Air Pollution Events (GEO-CAPE) Airborne Simulator (GCAS) was developed in support of NASA's decadal survey GEO-CAPE geostationary satellite mission. GCAS is an airborne push-broom remote-sensing instrument, consisting of two channels which make hyperspectral measurements in the ultraviolet/visible (optimized for air quality observations) and the visible–near infrared (optimized for ocean color observations). The GCAS instrument participated in its first intensive field campaign during the Deriving Information on Surface Conditions from Column and Vertically Resolved Observations Relevant to Air Quality (DISCOVER-AQ) campaign in Texas in September 2013. During this campaign, the instrument flew on a King Air B-200 aircraft during 21 flights on 11 days to make air quality observations over Houston, Texas. We present GCAS trace gas retrievals of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and formaldehyde (CH2O), and compare these results with trace gas columns derived from coincident in situ profile measurements of NO2 and CH2O made by instruments on a P-3B aircraft, and with NO2 observations from ground-based Pandora spectrometers operating in direct-sun and scattered light modes. GCAS tropospheric column measurements correlate well spatially and temporally with columns estimated from the P-3B measurements for both NO2 (r2 = 0.89) and CH2O (r2 = 0.54) and with Pandora direct-sun (r2 = 0.85) and scattered light (r2 = 0.94) observed NO2 columns. Coincident GCAS columns agree in magnitude with NO2 and CH2O P-3B-observed columns to within 10% but are larger than scattered light Pandora tropospheric NO2 columns by 33% and direct-sun Pandora NO2 columns by 50%.

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Short summary
The GEO-CAPE Airborne Simulator (GCAS) was developed in support of future air quality and ocean color geostationary satellite missions. GCAS flew in its first field campaign on NASA's King Air B-200 aircraft during DISCOVER-AQ Texas in 2013. In this paper, we determine nitrogen dioxide and formaldehyde columns over Houston from the GCAS air quality sensor and compare those results with measurements made from ground-based Pandora spectrometers and in situ airborne instruments.
The GEO-CAPE Airborne Simulator (GCAS) was developed in support of future air quality and ocean...